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Look Ma, No Hands: Drones You Can Pilot With Your Mind


Drones you can fly only using your brain waves -- sounds like something you'd see in a sci-fi movie, right? Thanks to a Lisbon, Portugal-based aeronautics company called TEKEVER and its BrainFlight project, that future is closer than you might think. The prospect may seem a little terrifying but really, who among us hasn’t wished (or tried when you had the house to yourself) that they could move stuff with their mind?

So how does it work? The drone operator wears an electrode-covered cap that monitors electrical activity in his or her brain. The company put out a statement explaining that "the electricity flowing through the pilot's brain acts as an input to the drone’s control system, in order to perform, on the air, a mission with objectives previously defined by the research team."  

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The pilots are reportedly trained to give the unmanned vehicles specific and simple commands by imagining moving a dot up and down on a screen, which would then translate to the drone making a right or left turn.

The company conducted a successful public test flight in Lisbon this week. The scientists behind the technology foresee it being used for more than just drones. They are thinking of using the technology to pilot larger planes and jets as well, though whether that would be allowed on the regulatory side of things is an undertaking unto itself. 

But more than the cool factor of remotely flying planes, or operating a boat, car or train, TEKEVER wants to develop the technology further to potentially apply it to the making of prosthetics and generally help individuals with "with severe physical disabilities to interact with their surroundings in an easier way."  

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Nina Zipkin

Written By

Entrepreneur Staff

Nina Zipkin is a staff writer at She frequently covers leadership, media, tech, startups, culture and workplace trends.